Hatching Twitter

Book Report by Doug Robie

Who thought 140 characters would change mass media forever. That is exactly what the social network twitter has done of the past 9 years since its founding and creation. Now twitter is everywhere it is a way to keep up to date with what your friends are doing. Everyone from celebrities to Political figures and everyone in between has a twitter.

Nick Bilton who is a New York Times columnist and reporter tells the story of the founding of twitter and all that transpired between the founders and employees. The book is a chronological telling of the events that helped start twitter and goes up to current day. It talks about the different startups the founders worked out. The book mentions funding for the start of twitter and it also mentions the turnovers in staff that occurred throughout the time at twitter. The book mainly focuses on four main characters three of which were named twitter co-founders, Evan Williams, Noah Glass, Jack Dorsey, and Christopher “Biz” Stone.


(EV talking twitter to Oprah)

Evan Williams, referred to as EV in the book, is the majority stock owner in twitter. However the book starts of by telling the story of when he was just a kid moving away from his hometown in Nebraska. Then the story jumps to when he was working on his first big startup which was blogger. Blogger allowed anybody to run a blog and publish news that they wanted to hear. This was a center theme in all of EV’s goals as an entrepreneur, he wanted to give everybody an equal voice and equal shot at getting news out into the world. He later went on to fund similar startups that had the same goal. One of these companies was odeo which was a podcast site where anybody could put their voice and opinions out there. Then the biggest funding went into twitter and was named co-founder and eventually the second CEO.


The story then continues on to talk about Noah Glass from, Santa Cruz in Northern California. Noah met EV when they were neighbors who lived across the street from each other. Noah recognized EV from a Forbes article about blogger. They eventual went from neighbors to friends who would say hi to each other, to friends who would meet up for lunch or dinner, to drinking buddies, to inseparable friends. EV saw the internet and social media as a way of connecting people, so they didn’t feel as lonely. Noah is the one who pitched the idea of Odeo to EV and the one who seeked capital from EV to get the company off the ground. Noah was also one of the guys who helped with the idea of twitter but was eventually dismissed from both his company and the twitter project.


(Jack delivering a keynote address at a technology conference)

Jack Dorsey the third main character in this story is the main with the idea of Twitter who was from St. Louis, Missouri. He met the other two when he came aboard the Odeo project. However he always had the idea of sharing information and “status updates” could be its own company. This idea was based off of something that AOL allowed their customers to do which was to share whether or not they were at their computer. Jack also played a key role in Noah being dismissed from the twitter project because Jack and Noah were conflicting on so many key issues. Jack would eventually be named the first CEO of twitter and a co-founder. However he was let go a year later due to leadership issues and not being able to correct major issues.


(Biz talking with the economist)

Christopher “Biz” Stone who was from Wellesley in Boston, Massachusetts. Biz joined EV and Blogger when Blogger was purchased by Google, However when EV left google Biz could not work for google anymore and seeked to go back to work for his old boss at the new Odeo project. Biz although he never directly came up with the ideas he was a key engineer and worked hard to get all these ideas off the ground. Biz is credited as a co-founder of twitter.

This was a fantastic book to read and told the very real struggles of twitter and how it eventually got off the ground. I would recommend this to anyone who has an interest in starting a company because this book gives a real look at all the troubles that go into starting a company.

(Infographics for twitter)


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